Goldman Sachs poached an equity derivatives trader from Barclays

David SolomonThe equities business represents one of the biggest challenges for incoming Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon.REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Goldman Sachs has waded into the equity derivatives hiring frenzy, poaching an up-and-coming trader from Barclays. 

The bank has hired David Wernert, formerly an equity derivatives trader at Barclays focused on single-stock trading, according to people familiar with the matter. 

He’ll join the firm as a vice president in single-stock volatility trading, the people said. 

FINRA records confirm that Wernert, 32, left Barclays and joined Goldman Sachs in 2018. He worked for Lehman Brothers in 2007 and 2008 before joining Barclays around the time of Lehman’s collapse during the financial crisis, according to FINRA and Linkedin. 

A Goldman Sachs spokesman declined to comment, and Barclays did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Competition for equities talent has been fierce in 2018 amid a rebound in volatility that has revived banks’ stock-trading businesses, a trend that has been epitomized by the equity derivatives sector. 

Equity derivatives traders have become the focus of an intense Wall Street hiring battleground, with more than 40 moves at the level of vice president or higher in equity derivatives in the US this year. Multiple factors are driving the trend, but the catalyst that opened the floodgates was the blowup of the Cboe Volatility Index — known as the VIX — earlier this year, according to industry insiders.

Goldman lost a rising star amid the talent war earlier this summer, as Borzu Masoudi — a 32-year-old flow derivatives trader who was part of the team which allegedly made more than $200 million in profit during the volatility spike in February  — decamped for JPMorgan Chase. 

Banks reported second quarter earnings over the past week, with many of them showing strong results in equities, and some lauding contributions from their derivatives teams for the performance. 

Goldman lagged behind peers, reporting equity trading revenues of $1.89 billion — flat compared to last year. The business represents one of the biggest challenges facing incoming CEO David Solomon. 

CFO Marty Chavez defended the bank’s stock-trading performance during a call with analysts this week, saying, “Our equities franchise is one that I wouldn’t trade for anyone else’s equities franchise.”

Even so, replenishing its derivatives roster with another up-and-coming trader can’t hurt. 

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